We're starting a new feature here at the Tiger Pens Blog: Reviews of our favourite pen, pencil and paper-related blogs. We'll be telling you about the ones we read to keep up on pen news and tips and hopefully will also be be bringing you interviews with some of the top pen bloggers on the web.
Whatever is an eclectic mix of fountain pen reviews and arcana, informative treatises on matching the right inks and papers, compelling photos and little bits about her family life in Florida. As she describes it on her blog's home page:
Okay, so when I signed up for this thing, they absolutely insisted that I give it a name. I threw my hands in the air and typed "whatever" and that is what it's called.
Mostly I plan to review pens, inks and paper; talk about postcards, letter writing and journaling; and, of course, our Akitas (that's them in the photo), but you just never know.
Like I said..."Whatever!"
Our favourite posts usually involve her "Featured Pens," stories about her vintage fountain pen collection, explaining how she came by a particular pen and what she had to do to make it fit her particular needs. Especially interesting is that she includes a little history of the brand and model with each post.
For example, she posted a two-parter in January about the Sheaffer Statesman Snorkel, which she acquired through another pen blogger.
In the first part, we get a little history of the 50-year-old pen and a description of how the deceptively simple barrel contains a complex filling mechanism. Then, there was a detailed, point-by-point review assigning the pen a cumulative score of 9.17 and a page of Julie's neat handwriting (she won second place in our handwriting contest a few months ago) demonstrating the pen's performance.
She followed up in the second part by showing close-ups of the ink filling system, along with a great explanation of how it works (by way of well-known fountain pen doctor Richard Binder).
Whatever is also home to excellent ink reviews that are among some of the most comprehensive you'll see at any pen and ink blog. Julie uses a special form to record the brand of ink being tested and type of pen used and goes on to provide details on everything from colour saturation to a water test to drying times in increments of seconds.
In addition to all the great pen, ink and paper info, the blog is sprinkled with bright bits about Julie's other projects, such as her "Year in the Life of a Tree" photo essay and collections of postcards she finds amusing.
The only slight quibble we have with the blog is that the header seems a tad large, making you scroll down to see new blog entries or read an entry on a permalink page. But that's just us being lazy.
Whatever is definitely recommended reading for anyone with a passion for fountain pens and inks and the notebooks in which they can be used. The blog is fun and informative and has a bit of a whimsical feel to it that somehow manages to be quite relaxing.
If you haven't already, please stop by. We think you'll be glad you did.
Oh, and if you need further incentive, Julie is giving away an orange Lamy Safari and a Lamy Vista to mark the blog's anniversary, so hurry over to enter your name. The deadline is this Sunday.